It’s all relative : An analysis of “An Alternative to Moral Relativism” by Lawrence Adam Lengbeyer

“An Alternative to Moral Relativism” is an article by a teacher of ethics and philosopher Lawrence Adam Lengbeyer. Lengbeyer advocates an alternative to absolutism and relativism, and this alternative could be seen as the middle barrier between the two. This alternative is called ethical pluralism. Ethical pluralism allows many things to be right or certain and can open up multiple answers to questions as opposed to relativism which is fixated with one. However, through Langmeyer’s observations, students were uncomfortable with the idea of the “anything goes’ ‘, and acknowledge that there is only one right answer to any moral question. In addition, the students he mentions have a mindset that relates more to relativism and doesnโ€™t even consider objectivism as an option. They view objectivism as an egotistical and “ethnocentric” doctrine and are not open to accepting a multi-ethical theory. Relativism connects with the students because they can relate to it, and a reason they could be drawn to it is because of anxiety and insecurity. Since they do not have the moral courage and the ability to analyze things for themselves, they turn into relativists. Furthermore, ethical pluralism helps the imbalance between objectivism and relativism and can be the most appealing because of the diversity it has. While an objectivist dismisses others’ judgments and answers if they agree with them, pluralists can agree with multiple equally correct answers. However, those answers will need to be certain, and cannot be refuted or mistaken. Lengbeyer goes into greater detail about both relativism and objectivism and gives examples that compliment his argument. Relativism does have its advantages such as matters of taste, preferences, food, etc… These choices all depend on the individuals’ surroundings and sub-culture, and therefore could make relativism plausible and right in those scenarios. He changes his focus towards ethics as a whole near the end and makes strong points in ways people evaluate judgments. Basically, in ethics, a single correct answer is usually a misguided one or one that can even bring up speculation. Therefore, ethical pluralism is probably the best option because of its vast answers and logical analysis that is made with judgments. Objectivism can have a group of people come up with answers and those answers are usually not defended well enough and this thus can cause conflict. In closing, all three of these ethical concepts have their advantages and disadvantages; it all depends on the situations they correlate too.ย 

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